How to find a job is relatively straightforward, but there is one thing that can make or break your effectiveness: Organization.Imagine sitting at home, working on the latest and greatest revision to your resume, when you get a phone call from the VP of Recruiting for that amazing company 10 minutes from your house that posted your dream job last week on their website. Or was it on Monster.com? Or was that the company that required you to relocate? Or travel? Or maybe it was none of those and this is the referral your old boss said might be calling because she put in a good word for you at the last networking meeting she attended? Uh oh, sounds like this might be disaster unless you can figure out why they’re calling and figure it out fast!
It’s Time to Organize Your Job Search
If your job search is in full swing, you’re actively taking advantage of a myriad of opportunities. And if you’re wondering how to find a job now with the job market as competitive as it is these days, you know that there is simply no margin for error in your search. If you can effectively organize your job search, you will create more as well as eliminate missed opportunities.
Here are five steps to organize your job search–career advice that will make a difference in your success.
- 1. Be committed.
Job hunting can be challenging even in the best economic conditions. And when the economic winds are against you, you need to be that much more committed. Planning and discipline are essential elements of how to find a job and your success will be directly related to how much effort you put into your search. Set goals and focus on your job search as being your interim position while you’re in transition. Give your search the time it deserves and treat it like a job in itself. I’ve heard it said many times that finding a job is often as time-consuming as having the job itself. On the flip side, be sure to allow for down time, family time and hobbies. Maintaining your commitment over time will require balance.
- 2. Establish a “Ground Zero” for Your Search.
Pick your spot where you will work daily on your search. Be it in your home office, at your kitchen counter or even in your RV, make the place you go to five days a week to find a job be as familiar to you as your desk was at your last job. Gather the tools you’ll need to conduct your search and keep them handy: computer, printer, telephone with proper answering machine message, a map of the area you’d consider working in, and typical supplies such as paper, pens and sticky notes.
- 3. Establish Goals for Your Search.
Setting goals is a critical component of how to find a job now. When you set goals, you have a barometer to measure actionable results every day. You’ll be able to see for yourself if you’re getting the things done you’ve determined necessary to land your next position. If you aren’t getting the response to your resume you want, you’ll be able to modify your goals accordingly.Set daily, weekly and monthly to keep yourself on track and organize your job search. Be sure to mix goals that are reasonably achievable with those that will be challenging to attain. Lastly, make your goals time-sensitive to make sure you get multiple things checked off your list every day.Reward yourself for reaching your daily goals. No one said that how to find a job is easy, and this job search might be tough and could last a while.You need to reward yourself for putting the pedal to the metal, even if the end result doesn’t come quickly. A trip to Starbucks or to catch a matinee are sometimes just what’s needed to recharge and prepare you to pursue your goals again the next day.Here are some possible examples of goals during your search:
- Identify target companies you’d like to work for
- Identify companies in your geographical vicinity that you’d like to learn more about
- Identity people in your network or inner circle who may know people at these target companies
- Expand your network whenever possible and get the word out to your trusted contacts you’re looking for your next position
- Send your resume and cover letter to all appropriate positions
- Contact past employers and let them know you’re looking again
- Identify and contact recruiters or job-headhunters in your niche
- Create a personal profile on industry specific and major job boards
- Send follow up and thank you letters to people you spoke to regarding your search
- Identify and attend job fairs suitable for your profession
- Join professional organizations and attend networking meetings
- Prepare for interviews by researching common interview tips and techniques
- Consider outplacement agencies and career counselors who may be able to help
- Set up face to face “informational interviews” when possible
- Stay abreast of industry trends and news
- Make new contacts and email / call them to introduce yourself and let them know you are seeking employment
- 4. Create a Schedule.
Start by identifying the main things you will do every day to find a job. This is a key part of how to find a job. Organize your job search by breaking down your day–hour by hour–and plan the night before what you’ll be doing the next day from 8-10 a.m., 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and 1p.m.-4 p.m. You might consider establishing a routine that is the same every morning to get you moving. Don’t forget to schedule a bit of time off.
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- 5. Keep Track of Your Job Search.
In today’s information age, there is an abundance of information you’ll need to keep track of. How to find a job can become chaotic without a system. Whether a paper filing system or electronic system is best for you, be sure to keep track of everything you do. If you send a resume to a company, write down all the details: The date, the company, the job, which customized resume you sent, to whom you sent the resume including all pertinent information such as name, title, contact info etc.Keep track of the response you get, what was said, next steps, thank you letters, etc. A complete and accurate accounting of what was done is crucial in conducting your search as there will be far too much to remember on your own. And when the search actually turns into first and second interviews, it will be even more critical to know who you spoke to, when you spoke to them and all the communication that took place between you. How to find a job is much simpler when you have a record of your search.
Get organized, implement your plan and repeat. With each passing day, you’re sure to notice the momentum an action plans brings to the process. Being organized is just the first step of how to find a job but is by far one of the most critical. Remember the old saying: Fail to plan and you plan to fail.
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